Sesame Allergies on the Rise in U.S.
Sesame Seed Allergy Now Among Most Common Food Allergies
WebMD News Archive
The findings were presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of
Asthma and Immunology.
Their most common symptom was hives, in 41% of patients, followed by eczema
in 29%. Twenty-three percent developed a dangerous swelling of the face and of
the throat that blocks airways, referred to as angioedema. Stomach upset and
wheezing or other breathing problems were also common, affecting 23% and 12% of
All but one patient had a strong family history of allergies. And 70% of the
patients were also allergic to tree nuts, while 65% were allergic to
In a separate study, Boston researchers found that kids who have had
allergic reactions to tree nuts are nearly three times more likely to have
allergic reactions to sesame seeds. The relationship between peanut and sesame
allergies was less clear, says researcher Lisa Stutius, MD, of Children’s
The findings suggest that tree nut-allergic children with unexplained hives,
eczema, or other allergy symptoms might want to visit their allergist to
determine if they’re allergic to sesame as well, the doctors say.
But a third study showed that standard skin and blood testing for food
allergies “doesn’t predict whether a child has true sesame allergy,” says
Permaul Perdita, MD, also of Children’s Hospital Boston.
“The only way to really tell is to give them sesame seeds and see if they
have a reaction,” she says.
Such testing needs to be performed under medical supervision because there
is a chance that the patient could have a potentially life-threatening
anaphylactic reaction, Perdita tells WebMD. “What we really need is a better
blood or skin test.”